Methods for bringing or exposing metal pads or traces to the backside of a backside-illuminated imager allow the pads or traces to reside on the illumination side for electrical connection. These methods provide a solution to a key packaging problem for backside thinned imagers. The methods also provide alignment marks for integrating color filters and microlenses to the imager pixels residing on the frontside of the wafer, enabling high performance multispectral and high sensitivity imagers, including those with extremely small pixel pitch. In addition, the methods incorporate a passivation layer for protection of devices against external contamination, and allow interface trap density reduction via thermal annealing. Backside-illuminated imagers with illumination side electrical connections are also disclosed.